“Viral Infections May Last A Lifetime”Aug 09, 2020
Many viral infections may linger and “hideout” in your body after you have seemingly recovered from the initial infection. Currently, millions are recovering from COVID-19 infections and we do not know to what extent this virus can linger on in your body. When viruses linger around, they may lead to additional spreading of the disease and prolonged symptoms. A chronic or persistent infection continues for months or years, during which time the virus is being continually produced, albeit in many cases at low levels. Frequently, these infections occur in a so-called immune-privileged site, where it is less accessible to the immune system and the body has difficulty in trying to eradicate it. Such immune-privileged sites include the central nervous system (brain), the testes, and the eye. A latent infection occurs when the virus is present within an infected cell but dormant and not multiplying. The latent virus may integrate into the human genome – as does HIV. A latent virus can reactivate and produce infectious viruses, and this can occur months to decades after the initial infection. The best example of this is chickenpox, which although seemingly eradicated by the immune system can reactivate and cause herpes zoster (shingles) decades later.
“Sugar and Hyperactivity in Children is a Myth”Aug 02, 2020
The prevailing notion is that when children indulge in sugary foods, they turn feral and nearly uncontrollably bounce off the walls. Most parents really believe that sugar causes hyperactivity in their children. But scientific investigations do not support this assertion. Reportedly, scarfing down bowls of candy does not launch offspring into sugar-induced bedlam. In 1995, JAMA published a meta-analysis that combed through the findings of 23 experiments across 16 scientific papers. Surprisingly, the authors concluded: “This meta-analysis of the reported studies to date found that sugar (mainly sucrose) does not affect the behavior or cognitive performance of children.” But the authors noted that they cannot eliminate the possibility of a “small effect.” However, overall, the scientists demonstrated that there certainly is not an effect as large as many parents’ report. Still, some parents believe that their child is particularly sensitive to sugar. Investigators tested this notion and concluded, “For the children described as sugar-sensitive, there were no significant differences among the three diets in any of 39 behavioral and cognitive variables. For preschool children, only 4 of the 31 measures differed significantly among the three diets, and there was no consistent pattern in the differences that were observed.” In 2017, a related study appeared in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. The researchers investigated the impact of sugar consumption on the sleep and behavior of 287 children aged 8–12.
“COVID-19 Can Cause Prolonged Fatigue in Mild Cases”Jul 21, 2020
We have seen a spike of COVID-19 in our area but fortunately it appears to be of a mild variety. Many patients report mild headaches, muscle aches and low-grade fever. They seem to recover in a few days, but some are experiencing severe fatigue, which can last for long periods. Overwhelming fatigue, palpitations, muscle aches, pins and needles, and many more symptoms are being reported as after-effects of the virus. Around 10 percent of the 3.9 million people contributing to the COVID-19 Symptom study app have effects lasting more than four weeks. If one percent of the 290,000 or so people who have had COVID-19 in the UK remain under the weather at three months, this will mean thousands of people are unable to return to work. They will probably have complex needs that the NHS is ill-prepared to address. Chronic fatigue – classified as fatigue lasting more than six weeks – is recognized in many different clinical settings, from cancer treatment to inflammatory arthritis. It can be disabling. COVID-19 is not the only cause of chronic fatigue. Prolonged fatigue is well recognized after other viral infections such as the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis (also known as glandular fever). Treating chronic fatigue is difficult and frequently ineffective.
“Is Dining Out Too Risky”Jul 13, 2020
One of the more common pleasures has been dining out. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a cloud over the safety of eating out. Even sitting down at a Cracker Barrel without fear of dying would be nice right about now. But can you do so without risk? And should you? Most of the data says that dining out is really risky and should be done so with caution, if at all. Even outdoor dining is considered risky as it also requires social distancing. You certainly cannot eat with a mask on and we are now told that this is a key component to curtail the spread of the virus. If we can believe it, a recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the Unites States of America (PNAS) study showed that while social distancing is effective, social distancing combined with mask-wearing is even better. Researchers concluded that “wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with simultaneous social distancing, quarantine, and contact tracing, represents the most likely fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Exercise Can Worsen Many Conditions”Jul 07, 2020
Even though exercise has a wide array of health benefits, there are times when it is contraindicated. Although the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks, injuries are extremely common. You may have been told to “walk it off” if you were hurt on the field or on the court. If you happen to get hurt, the most important thing to do is stop exercising or playing sports and seek treatment. Continued exercising can exacerbate any potential pathology resulting from the initial injury. Injuries can occur due to poor training, improper gear, poor physical fitness, or failure to adequately warm-up. Eighteen percent of adults reported having an athletic-related injury in the past year.
“Headaches Linked to Anxiety”Jul 05, 2020
Today we are faced with a multitude of anxiety triggering situations, from the COVID -19 pandemic to the lockdown of entire countries to racial protests and domestic terrorism. Little wonder we have frequent headaches. Anxiety and headaches are both common, and many people experience them from time to time. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. People with anxiety disorders may have symptoms that interfere with their sleep, relationships, physical health, work or school activities, and everyday life. Scientists are exploring the link between anxiety and headaches. The American Migraine Foundation has reported that 20% of people with episodic migraine and 30–50% of those with chronic migraine have anxiety. A 2016 study found that children with anxiety were likely to have more headaches than children without anxiety. The researchers also concluded that anxiety symptoms were more severe among the children who experienced headaches. Along with the emotional symptoms of tension and dread, anxiety can cause physical symptoms, such as sweating, a rapid heartbeat, digestive problems, and headaches. Headaches can be both a symptom and a cause of anxiety. The most common form of headache is called a tension headache.
“Should We Avoid Excessive Salt Consumption”Jun 28, 2020
According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 103 million Americans—nearly one-half of all US adults—have hypertension, which puts them at increased risk for life-threatening complications, such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Consuming too much salt makes it harder for the kidneys to properly remove fluid, which then builds up in the body and can lead to hypertension over time. The condition stiffens and narrows the blood vessels, which decreases the amount of blood and oxygen that flows to vital organs and, in turn, causes the heart to pump more blood in an attempt to make up for the shortage. Reducing dietary sodium intake is one of the most effective ways to reduce hypertension and its associated risks. Common foods can have hidden amounts of salt and cause unwanted effects. Stay away from foods that are notorious for their high sodium levels, such as frozen, prepackaged meals. In addition, keep an eye out for these 5 foods you might not have known are high in sodium.
“Americans Experiencing More Mental Stress”Jun 21, 2020
Sadly, 2020 has been especially stressful for all Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic, the lock down, job layoffs, the tanking of the stock market, the crash of the petroleum industry, and the racial rioting has had a cumulative negative effect on all of us. Yes, 2020 has been rough on the American psyche. Folks in the U.S.A. are more unhappy today than they have been in nearly 50 years. Gun sales and alcohol sales are at all time highs. About twice as many Americans report being lonely today as in 2018, and not surprisingly given the lockdowns that tried to contain the spread of the coronavirus, there has also been a drop in satisfaction with social activities and relationships. Compared with 2018, Americans also are about twice as likely to say they sometimes or often have felt a lack of companionship (45% vs 27%) and felt left out (37% vs 18%) in the past 4 weeks. Some have expressed that 2020 fast forwarded a spiritual decay. Reportedly, one in ten people in the U.S.A.
“Common Health Habits That May Be Harmful”Jun 14, 2020
There is a general consensus that drinking 8 glasses of water a day, taking a daily multivitamin or starving a fever are good health habits to follow. However, just because you have heard them innumerable times does not make them true. Many of these questionable fads lack scientific proof, such as the ones that follow. Avoiding eggs to protect your heart. Despite decades of controversy and debate, eggs have been shown to benefit heart health in recent years. But, like all foods, they should be eaten in moderation. In a recent study, participants who consumed 3-6 eggs per week reaped major health benefits, including lower risks of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. While some investigators have asserted that eggs weaken heart health, the American Heart Association maintains that this stance lacks support from compelling evidence, and says that eating one whole egg per day aligns with a heart-healthy diet.
“Alcohol Increases Risk of At Least Five Cancers”Jun 07, 2020
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared alcohol to be a cancer-causing agent (carcinogen) in 1988. However, so-called “responsible drinking” gives one a free pass to drink alcohol in moderation. But there is incriminating data against alcohol consumption, which says that no amount of alcohol is safe, and this is the conclusion of the 2014 World Cancer Report (WCR), issued by the World Health Organization’s IARC. It concluded that the more alcohol that a person drinks, the higher the risk. The alcohol/cancer link has been strengthened by the finding of a dose/response relationship between alcohol consumption and certain cancers. And here is the kicker: a causal relationship exists between alcohol consumption and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon-rectum, liver, and female breast; a significant relationship also exists between alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer. Beyond reduced immunity, the short-lived pains of a hangover, and increased risk of infection, high levels of alcohol consumption have been scientifically proven to increase the risk of much more serious disease: cancer. With the stresses of 2020, Americans are heading to the liquor store in huge numbers.